Chair: Tom Scheinfeldt, University of Connecticut, Storrs
• Marc Reyes, University of Connecticut, Storrs
• Emily Esten, Brown University
• Matthew Reeves, University of Missouri–Kansas City
In recent years, history graduate programs have encouraged and incorporated more public history and digital humanities training into the graduate student practicum. The influx of new pedagogy promises to reach audiences outside the academy as well as reshape the discipline and how it communicates historical accounts. Our panel seeks to build on these developments and articulate how the increasing intersection of public and digital histories affect how graduate students produce scholarship, how they will teach their own courses, and how to contribute to the discourse of what it means to be a humanities scholar in the twenty-first century.
Our panel discussion examines three themes: reaching public history audiences, how and what the fine arts and liberal arts can teach each other about digital communication, and the emerging field of digital public humanities. Matthew Reeves’ discussion takes on the challenge of exploring the concept of “double empathy” and argues that historians must deploy empathy for both their subjects and modern audiences. Marc Reyes’ contribution discusses what he learned assisting a course outside the history department and what digital media, design, and history departments can learn from each other to produce cutting-edge scholarship and greater digital media literacy. Emily Esten’s presentation blazes a new path by probing the relationship between digital public humanities and traditional historical scholarship and how historians are shaping critical digital pedagogy. All three approaches – audience empathy, digital interdisciplinary, digital public humanities – offer historians novel interpretive tools and insights for our cacophonous digital age.
Panel chair Tom Scheinfeldt, a pioneer in the field of digital humanities, will provide the contextual frame for the assembled papers and guide the discussion. This panel, consisting of graduate students at different phases of their training, intends to examine the intersection of public and digital histories and what that means for the humanities both inside and outside the classroom. Despite the OAH Programming Committee’s concerns regarding all graduate student presenters, we feel our panel necessary to comment on real-time changes in the training of historians and what these changes mean for the future of the discipline. Our field is constantly changing, and the OAH is changing with it: increased audio/video recording and indexing represents a best practice for making information accessible within the profession and for the public. As current graduate students with experience in the classroom and with public-facing projects, we are excited for these changes and our papers explore similar emerging practices. Our panel answers the OAH’s call for presentations that explicitly address new ideas for the classroom and redefine the boundaries of modern digital scholarship.
Recorded in April 2018 at the OAH Annual Meeting held in Sacremento, California as part of the Mellon-funded Amplified Initiative.